However, I am able to forgive a good deal of the effects jank due to the outstanding cinematography by Marcos Durian – the constant play with focus, lighting, and perspective keeps each moment visually interesting, and manages to breathe desperately needed life into the story. That isn’t to say that the film lacks tense moments or coherence. It lacks consistency. Besides a completely taut and well-crafted opening sequence (and even better opening credits), the film devolves into a meandering mess between the struggling family plot and the giant killer spider arc – the storylines happen almost irrelevant of one another for the majority of the runtime, only slapping together in the last twenty minutes.
“…the monster terrorizing people…often serve as showcases for the special effects teams.”
Major character traits, such as Kara suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, are only applied to the larger story when immediately useful and not because the story has built up to any of these confrontations or catharses – that isn’t to say that her struggles and shortcomings are never explored in any meaningful way because the filmmakers absolutely tried. Scenes between Kara and Walter when their conflict comes to a head are powerfully acted, expertly staged, and sharply directed, and the continued turmoil between Kara and Jesse could have made for a sincerely compelling dynamic if any semblance of that arc actually developed – but then we’re reminded that this is a horror film about a big-a*s spider. The horror plot is horribly paced, constantly building tension only to let it all go to switch to the concurrent story (sometimes happening in a completely different place) with little concern for maintaining the dread of the audience.
The film started so strongly, and with such promise, even with some of the plot contrivances causing a few immediate eye rolls, it was on the path to being far more psychologically and emotionally charged. Though, even with standout performances from Roberts, Davison, and Etienne, it falls back on geriatric horror tropes that make the journey somewhat wasteful. Itsy Bitsy has some fantastic human moments inside its bland monster facade and is the only real reason I can recommend the film – however, for some it won’t be enough to redeem the played-out and wonky elements.
"…really wants to be a family drama, and can’t decide between the two"